Back to basics

We take you back to the credit basics to review everything you thought you already knew but were too afraid to ask ... Steven Miller, managing director of Standard & Poor's LCD in New York, looks at the leveraged loan market, who uses it and how it works

Institutional loans are almost always term loans, which the borrower draws down once and repays over time. With few exceptions, these loans are floating-rate instruments that are pegged to a spread over Libor. Loans are mostly senior instruments secured by a first-lien pledge of the issuer's assets. A growing segment of loans, however, are secured by a junior pledge of collateral (so-called second-lien loans). Spreads today range from 150bp for double-B rated first-lien loans to

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